Today in the news

Today, in news that should come as a shock to absolutely no one but will in more places than you might imagine produce fervent fevered reactions that create just enough feel-good juice in the moment to subvert much of the long-term momentum that might have been building:

A wealthy and powerful person was accused of abuse by multiple people who carefully gathered their evidence and presented a timeline of events with corroborating testimony and this accused person did not provide their own evidence or timeline or testimony but simply said: No I did not I am shocked I am offended How horrendous that you would even say such a thing about me

And the crowd roared and the dogs foamed at the mouth on both sides of the fence, growling, snapping, facing each other, growling

Bets were placed and hands were shaken and various people gathered in corners whispering, nodding, with voices low and faces shuttered, murmuring

The machine churned and rumbled, grinding dense bulky angular facts into streamlined and palatable pellets

Factors which excused some types of people were used to damn others, certain words became terms, certain other words became labels, but there was never a published glossary

Everyone agreed that it was horrible, what had happened to the victim(s)

Something must be done!

But what?

There is no easy answer, said the men on the platform

And once again every person believed they knew the truth of it because no one does the wrong thing on purpose except that group over there of course

In due time everyone forgot about the victim(s) and moved on to painting banners without much inconvenience

There was much certainty, there was much glory

Feet stamping the ground, music swelling over unspoken doubt, faces glowing with righteous anger, hands clasping

The wave crested and receded

There was a moment of confusion, a blankness, a space, an opportunity

The men on the platform glanced, wary

Another siren sounded, as one the people turned their heads, smoke filled the air

The groups mingled, stampeding

A mass unified, a hive buzzing, an arrow flying

As one the people rushed to war.